Operation Back to School Chandler

One of my favorite roles is as a volunteer photographer for For Our City Chandler. A few times each year, various churches, non-profits, businesses, municipal agencies, schools, families and individuals work together on a big project to do as it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Whether religious or not, volunteers with Operation Back to School Chandler share their time handing out thousands of donated items because of love for all the children of God.

In these first three photos, you’ll see a woman who didn’t know if she and her children would be welcome at the Back to School event. A volunteer (my friend Azita) assured the woman in the Arabic language native to them both… that they are.

You can see several of these photos in the September, 2017 issue of Chandler Lifestyle Magazine. http://www.chandlerlifestyle.com/2017/08/30/fifth-annual-operation-back-to-school/

Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of our children and youth regularly took time to help others in need… because they had learned to love doing so?

It’s easy to find smiles at this event… from the givers and the receivers.

Aren’t we all givers and receivers at times?

Kids played as their families waited in line. Barbies and bubbles were particularly fun to photograph.

I was delighted to use the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens that I rented for the second time. Several of these photos were taken with it, including “bubble girl” above and the “woman in green” series below. I used it indoors quite a bit too, with my Speedlite flash. Subjects include the Arabic speakers and children wearing backpacks. The crisp focus in front of or even mingled with a delicious blur is what thrills me about that lens.

Besides getting a backpack filled with supplies, children received new shoes, socks, underwear, a toothbrush, and even a haircut if they wanted one.

Several agencies had representatives on hand so children and their parents could learn about water safety, the importance of literacy, nutrition, the brain…

A couple of local news crews came to the event.

Elementary-age children in need were also given a new school uniform (shirt & shorts or skirt) at their schools’ Meet the Teacher events earlier in the week. Nearly a thousand had been donated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chandler as part of Operation Back to School. Each stake (geographical area) of the church here collected uniforms for one of Chandler’s six Title 1 schools.

I was in charge of the uniform drive for my stake, so my family took all the clothes home to sort and prepare it. Then we hauled it off to our assigned school (which received it with much gratitude). Another family we know and love met us there. They helped get the 214 complete uniforms (plus 7 extra shirts) neatly into a room where yet another set of volunteers would handle the uniforms the next day… filling orders for Meet the Teacher Night the day after that. Countless volunteer hours go into such a project! What would we do without so many volunteers?!

Have a lovely day!